The boom means schools are ‘mushrooming’ in the biggest cities, with new schools opening and others riding the wave by adding ‘international’ to their name, experts say.
‘India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies today, and a country with a huge thirst for international education,’ said Richard Gaskell, director of schools at ISC Research, which produced the report.
ISC found that enrolment rates at international schools with fees over $4,000 a year have increased more than 70 per cent over the last five years. India’s young and growing population, economic growth and ‘aspirational’ families are highlighted as important factors.
Meanwhile, India’s private schools have seen a drop in enrolments. In response to a higher demand for international qualifications, several of them are adopting examinations such as IGCSE.
The research found that international schools that charge mid-range prices of between $4,000 and $10,000 are on average at 79 per cent of their capacity, whereas schools with higher fees (over $10,000) are 81 per cent full.
But the data suggests that within four years the mid-priced schools will have reached capacity, and some schools already have waiting lists at primary level.
The demand is driven not by expats but by children of local families who make up 75 per cent of the enrolments in mid-range international schools and 43 per cent of higher-fee schools. Statistics suggest that mid-range schools will experience the highest demand in years to come.
In terms of curriculum, the International Baccalaureate is the most popular among this sample of schools, but the British curriculum is usually the most common in all international schools, regardless of their fees.
Anuradha Monga, chair of the Association of International Schools in India, said: ‘International schools are mushrooming in all the tier-one cities in India.
In Bangalore, we see a lot of institutions that are trying to get on the bandwagon simply by adding the word ‘international’ to their name.’
She added that the reasons for this trend might lie in the fact that international schools offer a model of education that is more attractive to parents, with smaller classes.